Wednesday, August 1st marks the 11-year anniversary of the shocking passing of Minnesota Vikings RT Korey Stringer.
The Vikings drafted Korey Stringer in the first round (24th pick overall) of the 1995 NFL draft where he played from 1995 to 2000.
Stringer was a standout right tackle earning a 2000 Pro Bowl bid in what ended up being his last season. In six seasons with the Vikings, Stringer played in 93 games and started 91 of them.
Stringer was set to move from right tackle to left tackle to replace Todd Stuessie who signed with the Carolina Panthers.
But before that could happen, Stringer, 27, suffered a heat stroke during the 2001 Vikings training camp, and died as a result of complications. Stringer's death brought about major changes regarding heat stroke prevention throughout the NFL. Many professional football teams now train in light color uniforms, water and shade are made readily available and a team doctor is at practice sessions at all times.
Here is the official press release from the Minnesota Vikings (h/t About.com):
Korey Stringer passed away at Immanuel St. Joseph's-Mayo Health System in Mankato, MN at 1:50 a.m. on Wednesday, August 1, 2001 due to complications from heat stroke. Stringer completed the morning practice session with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday, July 31 and walked to an air conditioned shelter following practice. There he developed symptoms of heat stroke including weakness and rapid breathing. The Vikings' athletic trainers were present and immediately attended to him. An ambulance and paramedics were called and the hospital was alerted as the ambulance was en route to Immanuel St. Joseph's. Within five minutes a full team of physicians and emergency room staff met them upon arrival at the hospital.
Stringer was unresponsive at the time of arrival and had an extremely high core temperature of over 108 degrees. Stringer developed multi-organ system failure throughout the day and night requiring the attention of multiple specialists and staff. He never regained consciousness and despite all efforts his heart failed at 1:50 a.m. The hearts and prayers of all the Vikings' family are with the Stringer family.
Stringer's loss was a big one for the franchise and Viking Nation as a whole. Stringer was one of the most joyful and popular players on the Vikings team. The 6'4", 335-pound lineman lived in the Minneapolis area and was active in the community, establishing community service programs at local schools and with the St. Paul library.
To honor Stringer, the University of Connecticut, with the support of the NFL, Timex and Gatorade, opened the Korey Stringer Institute to further research, education and advocacy for the prevention of heat stroke and sudden death in sport.
RIP Korey Stringer. You are gone but not forgotten.